Holy Well’s, Shrines & Crosses

VisitGalway - St. Peters Well

St. Peter’s Well

Although the plaque on St. Peter’s Well states 1840, the well dates to much earlier than this. The holy well served an important spiritual and social function, a tradition aligned as much if not more with earlier pagan beliefs as with contemporary religious practices. As such it was a focus point for the area, and its location in the centre of Peterswell village, to which it has given its name, is significant.

VisitGalway - Lady's Well

Ladywell

The Ladywell, located in Abbey village, is associated with the nearby Kilnalahan friary and is believed that the well was used by Monks of the monastery. The well is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and is believed to have healing properties. Pilgrimages are made to the holy well, especially between 15th August, which is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the 8th September, which is the feast of the Birthday of Our Lady. Pilgrimages to the well can be traced back to at least the 18th century, when the Catholic faith in Ireland was suppressed. During the time, pilgrims came bare-footed, fasted and devoted to numerous rounds of prayer and penance. This is still present amongst some pilgrims today.

VisitGalway - St. Cuan's Well

Cornamucklagh Holy Well

The Cornamucklagh holy well, is also known as St. Cuan’s holy well. The well comprises of a low stone wall that surrounds the well which may have been a small housed enclosure in years gone by with the well within. Around the well there is a graveslab with a crucifixion carved on it. The well measures about 1.5m deep and can be classed as a dry well due to its lack of water throughout the year. However in the winter months or under some heavy rainfall the well may be seen with water.

VisitGalway - Creevaghbaun Holy Well

Creevaghbaun Holy Well

The Creevaghbaun holy well is dedicated to St. Bridget which is believed to date back to 1710 from some hard to decipher text under a carved effigy of a woman, possibly St. Bridget, on the inner fact of the wall opposite the well entrance. The well is enclosed by a mortared stone wall that has an internal bench and a south facing entrance. The well is surrounded by a 2 metre high circular wall and is situated around 10 metres away from an alleged sweathouse. The well is full of water weed and areas of water.

VisitGalway - Tubbermacduach

Tobarmacduagh Holy Well

Tubbermacduach is a small spring well and meaning the well of Duachs’s son or descendant. The well is also known to have been formerly the resort of St. Colman, who flourished about the beginning of the seventh century, hence some locals also refer to the well as St. Colman’s well. It is believed the well was the source for the saints food and water. The structure of the well is neatly walled in, and shaded by a few hawthorns. On the left hand side as you enter by the stile, in the interior of the upper wall there is a small niche, intended for holding a cup, and also serving as a receptacle for the offerings of devotees. The purpose of the well is unknown but it’s believed that it was most probably used for baptizing converts to Christianity. Exact location is unknown but it is believed to be in the vicinity of the marker.

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Tobar Naoimhéid Holy Well

Tobar Naoimhéid well was situated nearby to the church yard of Killoscobe, of which there are no remains. There are still remains of this well, however it is at present dried up and near covered by shrub and thorn bushes. Pilgrims came to Tobar Naoimhéid well and performed Stations annually on Good Friday.

VisitGalway - St. Patrick's Well

St. Patrick’s Well

Tobar Phádraig or St. Patrick’s well, was a place of pilgrimage, traditionally visited in July. On the way to Leenane you will see a signpost for ‘Leaba  Phádraig (Patrick’s bed) and Tobar Phádraig (Patrick’s well). The well was believed to cure cattle as well as some human ills. In recent years, the annual pilgrimage to Mám Éan was revived after having been closed down in the early 20th century because of the heavy drinking  and occasional fighting that went hand in hand with the day.  There are now three pilgrimage days to Mám Éan; St. Patrick Day, Good Friday & 1st Sunday in August .

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Tobar Ros (Tobar Os) 

Nearby to  the old church of Fahy (which has few remains), situated on the road from Eyrecourt to Portumna, there is a holy well with some bushes growing over it a short distance to the north of the old church. It is believed that in the past they used the well to dip delicate children, probably for baptismal purposes. Exact location is unknown but it is believed to be in the vicinity of the marker.

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St. Michael’s Well

St. Michael’s well is dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel. The well is situated nearby to an old Anglo Normans built church which is now in ruins (200 yards from the present Belclare Church). Exact location is unknown but it is believed to be in the vicinity of the marker.

VisitGalway - Tobar Mac Duach

Tobar Mac Duach Well

Situated in bog land north of Poulkeen townland, Tobar Mac Duach well was used for performing stations at in the past. Certain devotions took place around the well on Fridays and it is believed that the water from the well provided several cures to pilgrims. Exact location is unknown but it is believed to be in the vicinity of the marker.

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Well of the Seven Daughters

The Well of the Seven Daughters in Renvyle is dedicated to the Seven Sisters of Renvyle who were said to be the daughters of a King of Leinster, or a chief of Omey Island.  The well is situated 100 metres north of the medieval church at Renvyle Point, Teampaill na Seacht nInion. The church is said to have been built in thanks by a king for the cures his seven daughters received from the waters of the well. It has been suggested that there was a cursing stone by the well until the parish priest took it away and buried it to much dissatisfaction by the local people.

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St. Bernard’s Well

Situated in Knockroe Hill, lies St. Bernard’s Well, a celebrated holy well. St Bernard is the patron saint of Abbeyknockmoy church and water from the well on Knockroe. In the past, visitors to the well drank the water and collected it to bring home with them in keeping with custom. During good weather, congregation gathered at the well on the summit of Knockroe to hear outdoor mass. There is a story told about the well that there once was a blind man rambling around the hill and got lost. He knelt down and begged that he would regain his sight. Having finished his prayers and was about to stand up, he clutched the heather to aid him, but the heather, being weak from the roots, came up from the ground. Just then the water splashed the man in the face and his sight was restored. So he asked it to be called Bernard’s well.

St. Augustine's Well - VisitGalway

St. Augustine’s Well

St. Augustine’s Well, on the shores of Lough Atalia in Galway City, received a major renovation in 2000, improving access to the well, erecting the retaining stone wall and the installation of a bench and commemorative plaque on site. The well is tidal but it is still possible to get close to the well when the tide is out. The main days for devotion at the well were the last Sunday in July or the first Sunday in August in past times. In addition, the well has been known by locals to have healing power in the past, in particular, for those with eye problems. In 1673, a young boy with a serious illness (declared incurable), was immersed in the well and later had an apparition of the The Lord Jesus Christ in his sleep, where the boy awoke to take a drink of water from the well while blessing himself. The boy was miraculously cured.

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St. Ceannanach’s Well 

St. Ceannach was a very early Christian missionary who worked in what is now called Connemara in the late 5th/early 6th centuries. Folklore in the parish of Ballinakill states that Ceannach’s mission was the first in this part of Ireland, which was still pagan at the time. It is believed that his missionary work infuriated a local king, who seized him and had him beheaded close to the eastern extremity of Cleggan. Stories further stated that, Ceannach then suddenly picked up his head and took it to the Holy Well in Clooncree where he washed it before lying down to die. A heap of stones close to the well pointed out the site of his death. From this incident the village is supposed to derive its name, although An Cloigeann (meaning head or skull), apparently refers to a coastal headland.

VisitGalway - St. Feichin's Well

St. Féchín’s Well

St. Féchín’s holy well, on the western edge of the island, is remains of St. Féchín’s monastic community on Omey Island. Saint Féchín or Féichín (died 665), also known as Mo-Ecca, was a 7th-century Irish saint, chiefly remembered as the founder of the monastery at Fore (Fobar), County Westmeath. Folklore states that Féchín had supernatural powers and healing abilities hence why holy wells were dedicated to him throughout Ireland. The island of Omey remains a place of devotion to Saint Féchín to this day.

VisitGalway - St. Kieran's Well

St. Kieran’s Well

Folklore suggests that St. Kieran’s Well contains healing properties and was particularly good at curing headaches! Exact location is unknown but it is believed to be in the vicinity of the marker.

VisitGalway - St. Colman's Well

St. Colman’s Well

St. Colman’s Well was traditionally celebrated on 29th October since the seventh century. Pilgrims would visit the well on this date and do the ‘Rounds’ (a traditional prayer pattern of Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glorias). The well has been attributed to many miracles. Saint Colman mac Duagh was the son of the Irish chieftain Duac (mac Duach in Irish) whom later, through his religious work, became ordained as an arch bishop. It is believed that St. Colman’s well was founded not longer after Colman’s mother gave birth to him. Stories say that his mother, Rhinagh, took her newborn to a priest to baptize, but they realized there was no water. Fearing to return home, the mother sheltered under an ash tree and prayed. A fountain bubbled up from the earth and Colman was baptized here, hence the well became know as St. Colman’s well. Exact location is unknown but it is believed to be in the vicinity of the marker.

VisitGalway - Tobar Eanna

Tobar Éanna

Tradition has it that St. Enda used to rest here on regular occasion when on his way to the Aran Islands. It is believed that one day he had been praying here and a well sprang up as he prayed. St. Enda supposedly blessed the well and it was through his great faith that the well water contained healing powers. It was believed that the water had beneficial effects for those suffering from eye and ear ailments. Hence the well was then named after St. Enda. Since then, Pilgrimmages took place to the well. Traditionally, the last Sunday in July was the biggest pilgrimage to the well and it was apparently custom back then for pilgrims to throw pennies in the water.

VisitGalway - Market Cross

Market Cross

The stone carved Market Cross of Athenry is the oldest market cross in Ireland still situated in its’ original position, on the market square. The Cross is unique in that it has a carving of a Crucifixion on one face. It is one of the last remnants of a late medieval Gothic cross. Unfortunately the 15th century cross stone is badly deteriorated, but one can just about make out the carvings. Originally the Cross would have been 9 foot tall Ireland, in medieval times would have had a lot of these market crosses but very few have survived. Traditionally, medieval crosses marked the central place in the town and locals congregated around the cross to strike bargains at the market.

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Abbeyknockmoy Cross

Unfortunately we have little information on this Cross other than it contributes to the architectural interest of the roadscape outside Abbeyknockmoy village. Exact location is unknown but it is believed to be in the vicinity of the marker.

VisitGalway - Virgin Mary Shrine

Virgin Mary Shrine

Between 1953 & 1954, hundreds of shrines to Mary and the Immaculate Conception were built throughout the country after Pope Pius XII proclaimed that 1954 would be a Marian Year – the first in the Catholic churches history. This shrine was built in the Marian Year and is still well maintained. Its location at a prominent position at the corner of a crossroads shows the importance of the shrine to the religious life of the community.

VisitGalway - Sacred Heart of Jesus Shrine

Sacred Heart of Jesus Shrine

Shrines and grottos, especially Marian shrines, have been a traditional sight on Irish roads for more than a century, dating back to 1953. They are prominent landmarks on the road. The Sacred Heart of Jesus Shrine is a modest shrine that is well cared for and a focal point for the religious community in the area.

VisitGalway - Woodford Marian Shrine

Marian Shrine

The simple geometric forms of this Marian Shrine combine to make a pleasing structure. The statue is of artistic interest, with well carved draperies. The Shrine is a notable landmark on the roadscape and makes an interesting small ecclesiastical group with the church on the opposite side of the road.

VisitGalway - Marian Shrine

Marian Shrine

Like many such shrines throughout Ireland, this Shrine was erected in the Marian Year, 1954, declared by Pope Pius XII. The Shrine incorporates earlier fabric, with the base being formed from the simple altar or Mass Rock used to say mass in penal times. The statue is well carved and sculpted in the round. It is a typical depiction of Our Lady, with the rosary beads encouraging further devotion. It adds visual and artistic interest to the village of Woodford.

VisitGalway - Marian Shrine

Marian Shrine

Built in 1830, the limestone arched canopy was believed to have been potentially removed from another location and re-erected in the Marian Year in 1954 to shelter the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Marian Shrine provides a religious focus for the village.

VisitGalway - Críost Rí Statue

Críost Rí Statue

The Críost Rí Status was erected in 1930 and comprised of a life size marble sculpture of Christ the King. It showcases the fine detailing work of the sculpture Albert Power. The statue details Celtic interlace and Gaelic lettering which provided a national identity in the early days of the country. It is situated in the market square of the town making it a focal point of the town centre.

VisitGalway - Marian Shrine

Marian Shrine

Marian Shrines sprung up throughout Ireland in 1954, as a devotion to Marian. This statue is commemorative of the Marian year and sits in the wall of the Tuam courthouse.

VisitGalway - High Cross of Tuam

Tuam High Cross

The High Cross of Tuam was erected in 1152 possibly to commemorate the appointment of the first Archbishop of Tuam, Archbishop Áed Ua O’hOisín. It is reputed to have been the tallest of the High Crosses of Ireland. When the first Cathedral collapsed after being destroyed by fire in 1184, the High Cross was dismantled into pieces which later were found in different location and pieced back together. The cross was later erected again in the town centre, after much disagreement of which branch of religion rightfully owned the cross – Catholics or Protestants. In the late 1980s, it was evident that the Cross was deteriorating due to weathering and pollution and after lengthy discussions, the Office of Public Works removed the monument from the Square in April 1992 and re-erected it in the south transept of St. Mary’s Cathedral, where it is now situated

VisitGalway - Kilconnell Cross

Kilconnell Cross

The Kilconnell Cross is located at the crossroads in Kilconnell Village. Erected for a number of reasons, wayside crosses are found throughout Europe and the Christian world. Due to the Cross having an inscription to pray for John Donnellan (who’s family erected it), it is believed the cross is a memorial one. In 1844, the Cross was damaged but was re-erected by Reverend W. Manning, hence the crisp and legible inscription today.

VisitGalway - Market Square Cross

Market Square Cross

The Ardrahan Market Cross was erected in 1860. This Cross is a rare example of a well executed cut limestone market cross which serves as a local landmark in the centre of Ardrahan. Unusually, it lacks any explanatory inscription. Its form may perhaps be in imitation of the memorial or funerary monuments known as leachts erected at several locations in the county around the year 1700, and of similar general form.

VisitGalway - Dunmore Cross

Dunmore Cross

Erected  in 1890, the limestone cross sits within the graveyard of Dunmore, on the site of the former abbey. The memorial is a fine example of nineteenth-century stone carving and the effort suggests it would have been erected for an important person of the era.

VisitGalway - Carrownagarry Cross

Carrownagarry Cross

This Cross in the Carrownagarry townland was erected to commemorate the Holy Year of 1950. It takes the shape of a tombstone with a celtic cross on top. It is a fine example of a mid-twentieth-century religious cross.

VisitGalway - Statues, St. Jarlath's College

Statues, St. Jarlath’s College

On the garden grounds of St. Jarlath’s college in Tuam stand two stone statues of St. Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ and a Sacred Heart statue with the inscription of; ‘Jubilee, Christ Yesterday, Today, Forever, AD 2000’.

VisitGalway - Saints' Statues, St. Joseph's Church

Saints’ Statues, St. Joseph’s Church

In the grounds of St. Joseph’s Church stand a Calvary group and four statues of saints. Calvary or ‘Golgotha’ was the site at which the crucifixion of Jesus occurred. Calvary sculptures or group usually display the crucifix with two more adjoining statues which is the case here where the Calvary group consists of the crucifix, St. Mary, St. John the Apostle and St. Mary Magdalena. Other statues on the grounds consist of; St. Mary Immaculate Conception, St. Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, Sacred Heart Statue and St. Joseph with Jesus.

VisitGalway - Sculptures, St. Mary's Priory

Sculptures, St. Mary’s Priory

The sculptures in the gable end of the church depict St. Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. ‘St Dominic receives the Rosary from the Virgin Mary’ is inscribed near the main entrance.

VisitGalway - Sculptures, Galway Cathedral

Sculptures, Galway Cathedral

On the north side of the Galway Cathedral are three sets of sculptures as such; the statue of the Blessed Virgin (St. Mary, mother of Jesus Christ), Stone reliefs in the tympanums (each tympanum represents a sacrament i.e. baptism, matrimony, ordination) and bronze doors with reliefs representing event’s of Jesus’ life and first days of the church. Each of the doors are also dedicated to former bishops of Galway.

VisitGalway - St. Brendan Statue

St. Brendan Statue

On the façade of the tower of St. Brendan’s Cathedral is a stone statue of St. Brendan, sculpted by Michael Shortall.

VisitGalway - Calvary Sculptures

Calvary Sculptures

The Calvary group statues represent the Crucifix, St. Mary, St. John the Apostle and St. Mary Magdalena. Calvary or ‘Golgotha’ was the site at which the crucifixion of Jesus occurred.

VisitGalway - Fr. Michael Griffin Statue

Fr. Michael Griffin Statue 

Fr. Michael Griffin was an Irish Catholic priest who was killed during the Irish War of Independence. The monument represents Fr. Griffin along with a bronze portrait of him with reliefs of Christ, St. Brigit of Kildare (one of Ireland’s patron saints), St. Kerrill (a.k.a. Caireall mac Curnain, a Christian missionary in the mid-to-late 5th century) and St. Nicholas (4th century Bishop of Myra).

VisitGalway - Saints' Statues, St. Brendan's Cathedral

Saints’ Statues, St. Brendan’s Cathedral

On the grounds of St. Brendan’s Cathedral are three statues of St. Mary with a child in a grotto, St. Joseph and St. Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897) who was a French Carmelite nun. There are also dedications inscribed in plaques.

VisitGalway - St. Patrick Statue at Maam Ean

St. Patrick Statue

St. Patrick was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. He became known as the ‘Apostle of Ireland’ and is a patron saint of Ireland. This stone statue of St. Patrick was erected by Margaret Mahony for her parents Bryan and Julia Madden and her grandparents Dan and Ellen Madden.

VisitGalway - Statues, Presentation Convent Garden

Statues, Presentation Convent Garden

In the grounds of the Presentation Convent in Tuam are three statues of the Sacred Heart with the inscription ‘Jubilee, Christ Yesterday, Today, Forever, AD 2000’, a Lourdes Grotto with St. Mary and St. Bernadette Soubirous, and a statue of Christ King with the inscription ‘835-1935, Ave Christe Rex Noster!’.

VisitGalway - William Burke Statue

William Burke Statue

William Burke was recognised for his establishment and endowment of a Convent of the Presentation Order in Tuam. This statue of Portland stone depicts Mr. Burke with a roll in his hands, potentially his will. There is also latin text in-scripted on the statue.

John McHale Statue - VisitGalway

John McHale Statue

John McHale was an Archbishop of Tuam from 1834-1881 and also an Irish Nationalist. This marble statue depicts him in episcopal robes and making a blessing gesture. There is latin text in-scripted on the statue.

VisitGalway - St. Jarlath Statue

St. Jarlath Statue

St. Jarlath was a 6th century Irish priest and scholar from Connacht. He was also founder of the monastic School of Tuam and a patron saint of the Archdiocese of Tuam. On the south façade of St. Jarlath’s College is a stone statue of St. Jarlath.

VisitGalway - St. Sourney's Well

St. Sourney’s Well

St. Sourney’s Well can be found to the rear of church remains of St Sairnait (otherwise known as St. Sourney) which was built around 550 A.D. The well was recently rebuilt by a work crew who unfortunately took the stones to build it from what was reputedly St. Sairnait’s cell or ‘bed’. St. Sourney was a female patron, who was believed to be of great importance given the number of religious features dedicated to her.

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